A Journey of a Thousand Miles

Greetings all, and Welcome to the Creating a New Story Blog!

“A trip of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

We launch this Blog in the context of this quote of Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu, (c 604 bc – c 531 bc), Chapter 64 in Tao Te Ching.   (translations from Wiktionary)

The “trip” is both an actual trip ~ I will be traveling in Turkey in September and October, and a metaphorical trip ~  the journey that women around the world are traveling.

The actual trip to Turkey includes scheduled conversations with women in Istanbul, Ankara, Konya, Antalya and Selcuk.  I am excited to meet these women and look forward to sharing some of those conversations with you as we increase our understanding of other women’s experience.  One of these women is a chef, some are business women; one is a feminist activist, one is an archeologist, and another works with women who have suffered abuse.  Each of these women will have wisdom to share that will benefit all of us.

I am choosing not to take my laptop – too cumbersome for a trip intended to experience this unique cross-roads of the world, to sample its ancient roots and it current presence.  Thus, part of the journey will be the discovery of how capable I will be at using local technology.

The other “trip,” the metaphorical trip, is the journey in which all women, and men too, for that matter, are involved.  Whether or not we choose to make this trip – the trip is happening!  Our choice is what kind of a traveler we want to be, what role(s) we choose to take on the journey.

“A trip of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” 

This is the popular translation of Lao Tzu’s wisdom.  There are other popular translations, however, probably more accurate interpretations of the philosopher’s thought.

“The journey of a thousand miles begins beneath one’s feet.”
“Even the longest journey must begin where you stand.”

These translations are even more resonant with our journey as women.  Rather than emphasizing the first step, Lao Tzu would have regarded action as something that arises naturally from stillness.    He would have likely interpreted today’s situation as, “Masculine energy has taken us as far as we can go; it is time for feminine energy to rise.”

And that is happening.  We are engaged in a long journey and it begins beneath our feet.  It begins under Claudine’s feet in Burkina Faso where she and professional women colleagues are sharing their knowledge with village women.  She also creates public events where, for example, a woman Senator from her country speaks clearly and powerfully about the role of women in their country, stressing that women make up 52% of the population of the country and therefore should be the ones who must give guidelines, advice and vision for collective decision making.  Women, she insists, are able to lead in any of the roles usually reserved for men.

At the same event the mayor of the area urged the population to take into account what the Senator had said, and called men, especially traditional and political leaders to openly review their habits regarding women’s issues.  He concluded with this sentence, “When women are empowered, men are also empowered and also protected, and it is the whole world who benefit from that situation.”

The journey begins beneath Mabelia’s feet in Guatemala, where she coordinates micro-credit organizations that enable women to gain economic independence, the ability to provide for their families.

The journey begins beneath the feet of Betty through the Teen Empowerment Uganda NGO she founded.  TEU provides training and mentoring opportunities for teens, enabling them to appreciate their own value and develop self-confidence, to take advantage of educational opportunities and grow into their full potential.

The journey begins beneath the feet of Nena who co-founded the WAAPONI Foundation in Cuenca, Ecuador were women and young people develop their leadership competence and increase their influence for the good of their country and their communities.

These are amazing, powerful, change-creating experiences, and they are happening on the ground, under our feet!

And the journey begins under your feet, and mine.

It is this metaphorical “trip” that will be the overall focus of this Blog, Creating A New Story.  This wil be the topic of the next post.

With gratitude for the wonderful women who are on this journey!


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